her father and defend Johnny marks a significant turning point in her
growth throughout the movie. As Johnny declares at the end of the film,
“[Baby is] Somebody who is not only a terrific dancer but somebody
who has taught me that there are people who are willing to stand up for
other people no matter what it costs them. Somebody who’s taught me
about the kind of person I want to be.” While Baby is introduced
initially in the film as a naive and inexperienced young woman who
stands to learn many things from the experienced dance teacher, it is
clear by the end of the film that she is actually the teacher because of
the moral lessons Johnny learns.
A similar model for the emotionally superlative student includes
the self-directed student, as revealed by high schooler Olive
Penderghast (Emma Stone) in the comedy Easy A (2010). In the film,
Olive capitalizes on her new reputation at school as a girl who sleeps
with a large number of men (despite the inaccuracy) by falsely claiming
to have sex with some of her classmates in order to boost their
reputations. Things get out of hand when guidance counselor Mrs.
Griffith (Lisa Kudrow) sleeps with a student and gives him chlamydia
then proceeds to blame the incident on Olive in order to protect her
marriage. Despite initially being one of Olive’s favorite teachers in the
school, this interaction and the fall out from it cause Olive to come
clean with everyone at school and make amends with all involved,
which ultimately shows that she is more emotionally mature than her
teacher. Olive, like other self-directed students, differs from the teacher
by being so independent and mature that the student rarely engages in
a strong, meaningful relationship with a teacher. When these
relationships are attempted, it typically does not benefit either party, as
is the case in Easy A. In many situations, the teacher figure functions
only as an academic instructor and offers nothing more; self-directed
students are capable of going out in the world and learning more on
their own through trial and error. As viewers can see through Olive, the
self-directed student left without a teacher figure may make mistakes or
poor decisions at times but is mature enough to learn from these
experiences in order to teach himself or herself. These students are
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